Chronic kidney disease (CKD) occurs when there are ongoing issues with the function of your kidneys. The condition is not curable, but when the problem is caught in the early stages, a combination of medications and diet might help slow the progression of CKD.
1. Determine The Underlying Cause
CKD can have several underlying causes. If a specific cause is determined, your doctors will try to stop the condition or prevent its progression to help preserve any remaining kidney function. For example, if an underlying autoimmune disease caused damage to your kidneys, your doctor may want you to take immunosuppressive medications which can stop the immune system from attacking your kidneys. Common causes of CKD are years of damage associated with diabetes or hypertension. Although controlling these issues now will not reverse kidney damage, they can prevent exacerbation of CKD.
2. Take Medications
There are many medications used for the management of CKD. Since your kidneys are not functioning optimally, you will need help managing your blood pressure and removing unnecessary salt from your body. This is typically achieved with the use of anti-hypertensives combined with diuretics. Other medications might be necessary if you are having symptoms from CKD.
Elevated cholesterol levels and anemia are among the complications seen with CKD, especially as the disease progresses. Your doctor may prescribe medicine to lower your cholesterol or encourage your body to produce more red blood cells. Another concern can be your body's ability to retain certain nutrients. You may need higher doses of certain vitamins and minerals when you have CKD.
3. Change Your Diet
A significant overhaul of your diet may be necessary. Since fluid retention can be a concern, especially when combined with high blood pressure, you will need to reduce or eliminate sodium in your diet. Simply taking blood pressure medications and diuretics may not be enough. Your doctor will advise you to avoid all processed foods since it is impossible to stick to a low-sodium diet with most pre-made foods.
People with CKD are also advised to limit their protein intake. Your protein limitations will be based on the stage of CKD combined with your personal needs. Talking with a nutritionist can help you choose foods that are not only low in protein, but help you avoid relying on other foods that might be high in salt, sugar, or other unnecessary ingredients.
Once you are diagnosed with CKD, the goal is to remain as healthy as possible and slow the progression of the disease. Changing your controllable lifestyle factors and taking your medication can delay the need for dialysis or a transplant. For more information, contact your local chronic kidney disease treatment center.